Steel Pulse

True Democracy

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AllMusic Review by

Although the group's first three albums are generally considered their finest, there is a very strong case to be made for including Steel Pulse's Elektra debut in their core collection as well. Where Reggae Fever had found the band moving from hardcore Rasta politics into lover's rock and party anthems, True Democracy marks a return to more ideological subject matter; the cover art, which shows singer David Hinds reading the Bible to his rapt bandmates, is a dead giveaway. Their sound might be a little bit slicker than before, but it's also harder and the lyrics less compromising -- "Leggo Beast" denounces adultery over a stripped-down one-drop beat; "Man No Sober" inveighs against drunkenness; "A Who Responsible?" uses a dour trombone line to call down judgment on Babylon. But the mood is lightened somewhat by "Your House," a gorgeous love song, and by the exalted "Chant a Psalm." This is one of Steel Pulse's most satisfying and fully realized albums.

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